The lights are on
This week at a pre-E3 event in Santa Monica, 5th Cell and Warner Bros. announced the previously rumored, super-powered entry in the Scribblenauts series. Each entry in the series has allowed players to conjure up anything they can imagine, from zombie krakens to angry whales, to solve cute puzzles. Maxwell’s magic ability to summon up whatever he wants puts certain super heroes to shame. But Maxwell isn’t interested in shaming comic-book heroes with his prowess, he wants to help them, and in Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure, he will. The ambitious new game features more than 2,000 characters and objects from the DC Universe.
Maxwell loves Batman, but his sister Lily thinks Superman is the superior crime fighter. The siblings decide to use their magic abilities to settle the bet, but end up immersed in a time of chaos in the DC universe. Scribblenauts Unmasked tasks the duo with helping the denizens of Gotham City, Metropolis, the Green Lanterns’ Planetary Citadel, and more. 5th Cell has developed a flexible puzzle system that takes certain basic situations, like someone trapped in a flaming vehicle, and will swap out the location and folks involved to add variety. In one instance, at the Green Lantern Corps’ base, there was a cop trapped in a flaming ice cream truck that needed rescuing.
Speaking of variety, Scribblenauts Unmasked has it in spades. As mentioned earlier, the game boasts more than 2,000 DC characters and objects. 5th Cell showed off a screen filled with dozens of iconic characters, each rendered in the developer’s adorable, cartoony style. The game includes your favorites like Wonder Woman, the Flash, and Batman. It also contains many obscure characters, including 32 other versions of Batman. The 5th Cell team member at the controls had fun with the mass gathering of DC denizens by tossing a zombified character in the mix, resulting in a real-time Marvel Zombies’-like outbreak. He also conjured up the villain War, whose mere presence caused the throngs of characters to begin battling. 5th Cell says if a there’s a DC character who was only featured in one panel of one comic and never shown again, they’re in the game. There are 130 different Green Lanterns, including Mogo – a planet that wields a power ring.
Scribblenauts Unmasked also includes a character editor and comprehensive DC database. The editor allows you to combine the looks and abilities of your favorite heroes and villains into one villain. 5th Cell’s Super Cool Man had a mohawk, stylish shades, Aqua Man’s arms, Superman’s torso, the Flash’s mask, and a variety of super powers. If you need to do some research to figure out what kind of character you want to create, or if you’re just interested in learning more about the DC universe, the Batcomputer is your friend. This Wikipedia-style resource contains detailed information on every character and object in the game.
The premise for the Scribblenauts franchise is a seemingly limitless one, but I found myself growing bored with the games’ puzzles and environments. For example, Scribblenauts Unlimited’s first level takes place on a farm. Not that there’s anything wrong with farms, but the prospect of helping Maxwell perform heroic feats on the streets of Gotham City is far more enticing. 5th Cell says the game will be hands-on during E3 in a few weeks, so look forward to more impressions then.
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